Samarth Chaddha, Attorney
There are a lot of factors one should consider when looking for the right attorney. Here is a list of factors and an explanation of how these can be important in your search.
List of Factors Covered in This Article:
The most important thing in your search should be work experience. Since attorneys have a variety of experience, in handling and dealing with different types of cases, it is important to find a wrongful death attorney with specific work experience in handling wrongful death cases. This is because many times this is a niche practice, and a lawyer with the right kind of experience will be aware of the precedents that are helpful to your case, which can help in building a winning argument. Also, dealing with an experienced attorney can help you understand the likely cost implications and time that such cases will take. Experienced lawyers are also more likely to have relationships with judges, and other legal actors that can allow you to benefit from such connections.
It might be a good idea to not compromise on costs, as the experience that you pay for (versus a younger, less experienced attorney) might help you when you get greater damages in the end, due to a better lawyer. Experience usually does translate to better lawyering, as such experienced attorneys have dealt with many kinds of cases and are aware of the complexities involved. Experienced attorneys are also likely to have more experience with negotiating settlements, which is what a wrongful death may come down to eventually. Hence, it is important to have not just experienced in handling the case, but also specific experience in negotiating settlements.
Another factor that is important in choosing a wrongful death attorney is reputation. The reputation that the lawyer has built can easily be found out by reading reviews online or even by asking other lawyers in the fraternity. Usually, the reputation that a lawyer has built is almost always accurate, but there are exceptions. Hence, it is a good idea to get this reputation but still do your own research by reading whether what has been the reputation recently – as some of these reviews can be outdated.
Another related factor can be the popularity of the lawyer. If the lawyer is very popular and has everyone running to him or her for advice, he or she may not have the time or resources to dedicate to you. They may still take on your case, but the personalized service that you may expect would not be possible with a heavy workload. Hence, reputation can be a double-edged sword as the more popular the lawyer is, the more experience he will have which helps your case. However, this also means that there may be more people wanting to work with the attorney, and therefore he or she may have less time for you. Generally, though, it is still preferable to have someone known in the market than someone who has never dealt with a wrongful death case.
This is probably what most people base their decision on solely, however it should just be one factor in the overall decision matrix. While an experienced lawyer is likely to cost more, one can save more in terms of a more generous judgment, which the experienced lawyer is likely to be able to extract due to his or her skill. Also, with cost, one has to take into account that this is a cost that is spread over a certain period of time – thus it may be helpful to look at those lawyers that work on a contingency fee model. The contingency fee will allow you little cost upfront, with the lawyer having the incentive to work harder for the possibility of a return, and a slice of the judgment pie. The attorney only gets paid if you win – which in turn makes them work harder and reduces your commitment costs. Some people may prefer clarity in terms of cost and would like a flat-fee or a fixed sum that is committed to up front. Whichever lawyer and fee structure you choose, make sure to think about it before you commit – as it can get difficult to change these fee arrangements after you have signed a retainer agreement with the lawyer.
Just like any other service arrangement, the likelihood of good customer service is an important factor as well. Many lawyers are very busy people, but the law just like most service-oriented businesses also needs to keep client satisfaction at the forefront. The initial impression one gets from interacting with a lawyer, can be important as it can give you an insight into how the lawyer will deal with you as a client, especially when you are racing against time and deadlines. Thus, it is important to make your decision on which lawyer to choose on whichever lawyer makes you feel the most comfortable. If the initial interaction is not smooth with the attorney, it might be a better idea to skip interacting with the lawyer – as there will be repeated meetings with the lawyer, and a lawyer who does not respect customer service in the initial call, is likely to not do so later as well.
Another important criteria in choosing a wrongful death attorney is the location of the attorney’s office. This is because there may be many lawyers who are very well known in the field, but if they are located outside your city, or too far away, they may not be aware of local laws and court procedure that you need in order to tackle the case. Hence, it is not entirely a case of reputation or even cost, as the location and ease of having access to the lawyer is also important. If the lawyer is too far away, it may increase your time and cost burden in terms of interacting with the lawyer.
Plan of Action
A lawyer must have a clear plan of action, or strategy to address your case. When comparing quotations from different lawyers, it might be a good idea to compare and contrast which lawyer has a better plan of action, or strategy, to address the case at hand. Simply knowing the timeline of events, and what paperwork will be required when will make your life easier as the client. Hence, when choosing a lawyer it is important to choose the lawyer who has a clear plan of action and who will deliver to the milestones and deliverables that he or she sets out.
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